Jumpy bugs. Hippity Hops. Cave crickets.
That's just some of the names local residents have given to these critters that have invaded their homes, particularly their basements. Their actual name is Rhaphidophoridae, but they are commonly called camel crickets because of their "humpbacked appearance," according to North Carolina University's Department of Entomology Web site.
Unlike field crickets, these strange-looking creatures have no wings and they do not chirp, but they can jump very high, which they usually do when they are startled. For instance, when they detect, using their antennae, that someone is approaching or if you throw a shoe at them.
"Cave crickets, also known as camel crickets, pop up in late August every year for the last 10 years or so," said Adam Novick, an owner of Alper's Hardware in Port Washington.
"The best way to prevent cave crickets is to do something every homeowner should be doing anyway, which is paying attention to your home's exterior," Novick pointed out. "Fill all cracks and gaps with appropriate sealants and weather stripping. Be especially attentive to access to the basement and garage."
"Cave crickets like dark, damp places, so running a dehumidifier also helps," he said. "Mulch should be kept at least 12" away from the house, which helps create a drier perimeter. Once they are in the house, sticky traps work best. We sell a four-pack from JT Eaton that becomes one of our best sellers every August."
If these jumping bugs seemed to have a liking for your home, take heart, Novick says, adding, "The good news is that around the first of the year, the problem tends to subside – although some houses have these pests all year long."
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